Identify the characteristics of different types of child abuse Abuse means any of the following acts which seriously endanger the physical, mental, or emotional health and safety of the child: The infliction, attempted infliction, or as a result of inadequate supervision, the allowance of the infliction or attempted infliction of physical or mental injury upon the child by a parent or caretaker. The exploitation or overwork of a child by a parent or caretaker.
The involvement of the child in any sexual act with a parent or caretaker, or the aiding or toleration by the parent or the caretaker of the child’s sexual involvement with any other person or of the child’s involvement in pornographic displays, or any other involvement of a child in sexual activity constituting a crime under the laws of this state.
Abuse is a sensitive subject. When studying the issues surrounding abuse you may feel anxious, both personally and about your role and responsibilities in the school.
Different Types of child abuse
Child abuse and neglect occurs when a child is mistreated, resulting in injury or risk of harm. There are several major types of abuse: Physical abuse: Physical abuse is non-accidental physical trauma or injury inflicted by a parent or caretaker on a child. It also includes a parent’s or a caretaker’s failure to protect a child from another person who perpetrated physical abuse on a child. In its most severe form, physical abuse is likely to cause great bodily harm or death. This may take the form of: Bruising- from being slapped, punched, shaken or squeezed
Cuts- scratches, bite marks, a torn frenulum (the web of skin inside the upper lip) Fractures- skull and limb fractures from being thrown against hard objects Burns and scalds- from cigarettes, irons, baths and kettles. Emotional abuse: Emotional abuse can be the most difficult to identify because there are usually no outward signs of the abuse. Emotional abuse happens when yelling and anger go too far or when parents constantly criticize, threaten, or dismiss kids or teens until their self-esteem and feelings of self-worth are damaged.
Emotional abuse can hurt and cause damage just as physical abuse does. However, signs of emotional abuse include: Withdrawn behaviour- child may not join in with others or appear to be having fun Attention- seeking behaviour Low self-esteem and confidence Stammering and stuttering Tantrums beyond the expected age Telling lies and even stealing Tearfulness Neglect: Neglect occurs when a child or teen doesn’t have adequate food, housing, clothes, medical care, or supervision. Physical neglect arise when the adult fails to give their child what they need to develop physically.
They often leave children alone and unattended. Signs of physical neglect include: Being underweight or overweight for their age and not thriving Unwashed clothes, which are often dirty and smelly Poor skin tone, dull, matted hair and bad breath; a baby may have a persistent rash from infrequent nappy changing Being constantly tired, hungry and listless or lacking in energy Frequent health problems, and prone to accidents Low self-esteem and ineffective social relationships- delay in all areas of development is likely because of lack of stimulation. Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse includes penetration or external touching of a child’s intimate parts, oral sex with a child, indecent exposure or any other sexual act performed in a child’s presence for sexual gratification, sexual use of a child for prostitution, and the manufacturing of child pornography. Child sexual abuse is also the wilful failure of the parent or the child’s caretaker to make a reasonable effort to stop child sexual abuse by another person.
As technology develops, the Internet and its range of content services can be accessed through various devices including mobile phones, text messaging and mobile camera phones as well as computers and game consoles. As a consequence the Internet has become a significant tool in the distribution of indecent/pseudo photographs and video clips of children and young people. It is used for online banking, buying and selling goods, finding information and for socialising with others. Images can even be downloaded through satellite navigation systems.
When we think of the types of abuse it is easier to imagine how this may happen in the real world. There are now significant risks of sexual and emotional abuse for children in the “Digital world”. This new term, ‘e-safety’, is concerned with the safeguarding of children and young people in the digital world and ensuring that they feel safe when accessing new technology. Risks When using internet or new technology: Child sex abusers find the internet or mobile phones a convenient place to participate in a range of child sexual abuse activity.
They feel a sense of security by operating from the safety of their own homes, and have also been known to set up fake email accounts and chat ‘personas’ to mask their real identity online. Research shows that the most common risks for children are: Swapping child abuse images in chat rooms or through instant messages Giving out personal information of children or young people that they have collected with other sex abusers Accessing inappropriate information- often accidentally when innocents words are entered into a search engine
Taking part in online communities such as blogs and forums with the intention of grooming children, collecting sexually explicit images and meeting children to have sex. Consequences: Young people often feel more confident when chatting on the internet than they do in other situations, and can be tempted to say and do things that they would not even consider if they were meeting someone face to face. Children or young people often place information about themselves online, which makes easy for them to be identified. Some include addresses, telephone numbers and sometimes even photographs.
The consequences of this freedom include the young person: Becoming drawn into repeated contact and intimacy online with a stranger; IM (instant messaging) is a more intimate area than a chat room and the young person feels a sense of trust because a ‘friend of a friend’ knows them. Encouraging children to engage in conversations which are sexual in nature Try to engage the child in more intimate forms of communication- including compromising a child with the use of images and webcams Taking and/or disturbing photographs using internet or other new technology
Use blackmail and guilt as methods of securing a meeting with the child or young person. Being groomed when this information is misused, other sex abusers may respond when the young person’s image is posted on a website It is very important that children and young people are aware of this risks and consequences of the internet, mobile phones and other technologies. They should also know the different ways of protect themselves and how to report concerns. All schools must have a policy which ensures that children are protected and are taught how to use this new technology safely. p
My actions towards abuser would be same if he or she is a parent, family member or a stranger. An adult is seen or overheard behaving in an inappropriate way within schools. But there are other examples that might give rise to a concern, without a specific allegation being made, for example:
- Child who seems fearful of a particular member of staff
- A member of staff seeming to try to develop a very close relationship with child- for example, offering small presents and special treats, or arranging to meet the child outside the setting or school A parent expressing a general concern about how a member of staff relates to their child, without being able exactly to say what is wrong.
- In cases like these, I will need to discuss my concerns with the staff member responsible for safeguarding. Discussions like these are awkward, but it is important to share any concerns I have-the child’s welfare is paramount.
- Sometimes a person inside an organisation knows that something is going wrong and being covered up. It may be that someone has:
- Harmed a child or put a child at risk of harm Displayed behaviour involving or related to a child that might constitute a criminal offence
- Behaved in a way that raises concern about the adult’s suitability to work with children.
If a member of staff has spoken to the manger, head teacher or other appropriate person and made clear that a situation is dangerous and illegal, and no action is taken, it is necessary to “blow the whistle” and report the concerns directly to an outside body, such as the local Children’s Services, OFSTED or the NSPCC.
The giving or receiving of sensitive information should be subject to a careful consideration of the needs of the children, for example- a children who is in need of protection has overriding needs which require that all relevant information be given to all the appropriate agencies, such as social workers or doctors. Some information does have to be shared, but only with my line manager or supervisor. For example, if I suspect there may be a child or young person protection issue, this should be shared with my line manger or supervisor in strictest confidence.
Children’s problems, information must be recorded, signed and dated and kept in a separate confidential file. As a general rule, information about a child protection issue should only be shared with people on a ‘need to know’ basis. This means only staff working directly with the child or the parents will have access to have any information about an allegation or investigation. Gossip and hearsay must be avoided. Names and identities must never be disclosed outside the group designated as having a ‘need to know’.
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